Freedom Session is a 20 week, intensive healing-discipleship journey that uncovers the roots of pain in our lives and invites Jesus Christ to heal those areas of our hearts. Freedom Session deals with real issues…pornography, broken marriages, sexual woundedness and abuse, depression, anger, fear and addiction. Beneath these symptoms, you will find a wounded and empty heart, looking for hope and meaning. As Jesus begins to heal the heart, the unhealthy and destructive ways we used to escape the pain in our lives become less and less attractive. Shame loses its grip on our lives and the lies that controlled us are replaced by God’s truth.
In its simplest form, Freedom Session is writing your story with a new and God-inspired ending.
Once we’ve completed Freedom Session, we are ready to embrace the life God intended for us and enter Authentic Living, an 8-week follow up to FS.
Freedom Session has proven effective for people from every walk of life, every economic level and virtually every possible area of woundedness. And it is equally effective for those with little church experience to those raised in the church their entire lives.
Freedom Session as Discipleship:
Discipleship involves leading an examined life.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24
It is easy to become comfortable with who we are, but living an examined life invites God to reveal issues He wants to address so we can grow and further reflect the character and life of Christ.
FS encourages us to look honestly at how we deal with the challenges and troubles in life. It asks us to take look into our past experiences, our strengths and our weaknesses, and challenges us to replace character defects with the character of God. Authentic Living further equips us with tools that empower us to continue our journey of wholeness in future challenges and relationships.
Freedom Session as Healing
A number of years ago, 35,000 feet in the air on a return flight from Toronto, Canada, God spoke very clearly to me as I was pondering a number of meetings I’d been part of with Christian leaders. The common theme among the leaders was a lack of transforming life change in the church today. This message from God changed my life and the trajectory of our ministry.
It is no longer acceptable for My church to lead people to Jesus through the church and then refer them to secular counseling or outside recovery ministries after which you disciple them. If you were ministering in a 3rd world country, your gospel would have to include food, water and the basics of hygiene, but you’re not. You’re ministering in North America where one of My people’s greatest needs is emotional healing. (Nov. 29, 2009)
At that moment, I understood how inadequate our (and my) discipling methods had been, particularly for people with pain in their lives and pasts. A few days later we coined the phrase “healing-discipleship” to reflect our belief that emotional and relational healing should be considered a normative and mandatory part of every Christian’s discipleship journey.
Freedom Session as Recovery
Freedom Session is much deeper than any recovery program (Christian or secular) we’re aware of, yet it does deal with many of the same issues those who seek recovery struggle with. Recovery allows one’s identity to be determined by their own behavior of escape (I am a people pleaser, a perfectionist, a food or sex-addict) or someone’s sin against them (I am a survivor of sexual abuse).
But Jesus offers healing. And once we’ve completed FS, we “graduate” and move on to embrace God’s calling upon our lives and purposes for which we’ve been created. This doesn’t mean we’ve “arrived,” are totally “healed” or no longer vulnerable to our old ways of living. We still need authentic community but because we’ve also been taught how to hear from God on a daily basis, create an authentic life plan (vs. relapse prevention), resolve conflict and set boundaries, we don’t need to remain in recovery.
And the labels we once wore – not good enough, damaged goods, failure, unworthy, etc. – these we actually and physically nail to the cross (Session 20) and in Authentic Living, we embrace the new name Jesus has for us. Our lives will never be the same. Many FS grads become small group leaders in their churches, more effective baseball coaches, moms and dads, youth workers. They take Jesus and the authenticity they discovered in FS and leak out their freedom and healing whenever they can. We call this “giving the reason for the hope within us.” (1 Peter 3.15)
The line in the above video shows the emotional experience participants have as they work through the 12 Steps of Freedom Session. Workbook 1 – facing the truth covers Steps 1-3 and the first half of Step 4. Workbook 2 – finding freedom, covers the rest of Step 4 through Step 9 and Authentic Living covers steps 10-12. Please understand that the 12 Steps of FS are significantly different than the traditional and even most Christian versions of the 12 Steps.
For the specific issues, behaviors and addictions Freedom Session deals with, see: Who is FS for?
Freedom Session as Worship
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – ROMANS 12:1
Early in Freedom Session, we identify our “drugs of choice”– things or behaviors we run to when life gets hard. Some choose food, affirmation of others, alcohol, sexual indulgence, work, performance, TV, hobbies. The Bible teaches us that anything we choose over God runs the risk of becoming an idol. FS gives us specific tools to identify these idols (an A.L.E.R.T. plan Session 02) and choose a healthier way – God’s way to deal with pain or conflict. This becomes a new and very practical form of worship.